A former engineer for Lockheed Martin sued the corporation on behalf of the U.S. government under the False Claims Act. The whistleblower suit alleged that Lockheed knowingly sold defective surveillance and communications systems to the U.S. Coast Guard.
Cutting edge defense lacking
The defective communications systems were in cutters the Coast Guard used as part of their defense arsenal fleet. Nine cutters were ordered, with six already received. All the cutters contained the same Radio Frequency Distribution System (RFDS). The RFDS was designed to send and receive different radio signals at the same time. The RFDS devices failed to meet the required standards for simultaneous operations.
The problem began when the Coast Guard filed a complaint with Lockheed regarding the RFDS. The complaint alleged that the ship had difficulties receiving communication signals when a helicopter was trying to land on the ship deck and the cutter was sending out a simultaneous signal. The whistleblower was assigned to investigate the complaint and found the RFDS lacking. He repeatedly reported the issues to his supervisor and was eventually laid off for his efforts.
Settlement and satisfaction
To settle the lawsuit, Lockheed agreed to pay $2.2 million. Lockheed also agreed to repair the RFDS aboard the nine cutters at no charge; repairs are valued at $2.2 million. The whistleblower stated that although it was unfortunate he had to sacrifice his career, he is glad to know the lawsuit repairs will ensure the Coast Guard personnel have safe and reliable equipment. For his services, the whistleblower will receive $990,000 as his share of the government’s recovery.